by Jessie Colwell

A Lenten Journey of Care – Week 6

This season of Lent I have been reflecting a lot on the concept of time.

As Christians, so much of our history in the Bible is about waiting for the right time. The Israelites waited for 40 years to reach the Promised Land, and Esther acted on behalf of her people “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). The disciples waited for three days for Christ to rise from the dead, and the early church waited 50 days for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Today we sit here lying in wait for Christ to return.

Time is also an important concept to us as United Methodists.

In “An Extract of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley’s Journal From His Embarking for Georgia, to His Return to London,” Wesley wrote:

“It was in pursuance of an advice given by Bishop Taylor, in his Rules for Holy Living and Dying, that about fifteen years ago, I began to take a more exact account than I had done before, of the manner wherein I spent my time, writing down how I had employed every hour.”

Wesley documented his thoughts, observations, and actions with dates and sometimes even timestamps. He realized that giving an account of where he had spent his time would show him how he was using his life to glorify God. While I am by no means suggesting that we need to journal and timestamp our lives with the veracity of John Wesley, this season of Lent I have been challenged to look inward to see where I am spending my time.

I feel the weight of time the most when I am in the middle of doing something that I do not enjoy.

Can I get an amen?

For instance, I sometimes feel the weight of time in long zoom meetings. Just yesterday I was on the Peloton bike for an hour-long ride and at the 30-minute mark, it felt like time would never end. Then other times, when I look at my seven-year-old son and how much he has grown it feels like time is fleeting.

During this 40-day season of Lent, we have the gift of time to reflect, repent, give thanks to God, and make more time and more room to recognize God’s presence in our lives.

How are you spending your time?

Are you attending to your spiritual disciplines?

Are you practicing holistic self-care?

Where might God be calling you to spend your time?

Is the Holy Spirit beckoning you to reach out to a colleague, family member, or friend?

Do you need to set aside some time for prayer or meditation?

My Lenten prayer for us all:

…is that we give thanks to God for the gift of time and that we feel the holy obligation to use our time in ways that invite others to experience the grace of God.

A Lenten Blessing on Time

Blessed are those who have time to breathe, inhaling the chaos and beauty of life.

Blessed are those who are ten minutes early and twenty minutes late.

Blessed are those who do not feel enslaved to time, and experience the freedom and hope of all the possibilities that lie ahead.

Blessed are those living on what feels like borrowed time, who are preparing to say goodbye.

Blessed are us all, who have been given the gift of time to live. May we embody God’s grace to all we encounter at all times. Amen

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